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Estate Administration

Estate administration begins the moment a person dies and includes the following:

  • To preserve assets, banks will seal safe deposit boxes; police may have sealed the decedent’s home. Someone will have to file the proper petitions to have them unsealed;
  • A responsible person must make funeral arrangements; a death certificate must be filed and copies obtained; and the body must be taken care of by burial, cremation, or as otherwise directed by the person who died (called “the decedent”);
  • The Executor is responsible for probating the decedent’s will, after which he must locate the assets of the estate, file an inventory with the probate court, pay outstanding debts, file the estate tax return and distribute remaining assets to heirs or other people designated by the decedent in the will. If the decedent died intestate, (i.e., without a will), the probate court will appoint an Administrator to settle the estate.

Estate administration can last from several months to several years, depending on the complexity of the estate and whether there are any disputes, such as a will contest.

What are my main legal concerns when a family member dies?

The number of details involved in estate administration is vast. They include:

  • Where is the will? Where is the deed to the burial plot?
  • What happens to the decedent’s body?
  • How do you obtain a death certificate?

What is an Executor/Administrator of an Estate?

I need help with estate administration:

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